I am thinking about going on a calorie restricted diet. A lot of research says that calorie restriction may lead to a healthier, longer life. I certainly want to be healthier (although I think I am pretty healthy as it is) and I don’t want to die anytime soon.
There was a great article the other day which said, in effect, that it is never too late to start restricting calories. This was particularly interesting to me because I am no longer as young as I used to be. Apparently a person can still receive many of the supposed benefits of calorie restriction later in life. Some of those benefits include potentially lower risk of cancer and heart disease.
This article says that calorie restriction is “the most potent, broadly acting cancer-prevention regimen in experimental carcinogenesis models.” That sounds like a pretty strong statement to me, and makes me sit up and take notice. If I were afraid of getting cancer, I would take a serious look at calorie restriction as a strong preventive measure.
Apparently, as with the first article above, calorie restriction is supposed to protect against aging.
And it is supposed to have a particularly protective effect on aging of the heart.
Here is more information on calorie restriction from Wikipedia, including some aguments against it.
Here is a review of the literature on calorie restriction. It is a few years old, but it covers some important topics. And here is a website that serves as sort of a clearinghouse for articles on calorie restriction.
There is one potential downside to all this – at least most people would call it a downside – besides the objections mentioned in Wikipedia. The man in this article said something to the effect that by following a calorie restricted diet he lost all of his sex drive. He even said that his testosterone level was about the same as that of a woman’s. Now in all fairness, the article in question does say that the man followed an “extreme” calorie restricted diet. I am not really talking about anything too extreme – just enough to have a noticeable effect on my health. And I don’t know if everyone responds to this type of diet in the same way as this man did. (BTW, the man who was interviewed in this article claims that calorie restriction had some very positive psychological benefits for him.)
(Just for the record, let me mention the Hallelujah Diet. It is a raw food diet. And I realize it has some religious components that some people might find distasteful. But it is a viable, relatively easy to follow, low-calorie vegan diet, and their website has some pretty good soup recipes. Also on their website are testimonials from people who claim to have recovered rather dramatically from serious disease while following the diet, or some version of it. Usually I take all that with a grain of salt, but if I were faced with a truly serious disease myself, I would probably not hesitate to try this diet, or some version of it. What would I have to lose? The idea for me, however, is to take steps to make myself healthier before I am faced with a truly serious disease, not after.)
Going on a calorie restricted diet would be a major step for me. It would be comparable to when I gave up smoking, or when I became a vegetarian. It took me a long time to get used to the idea of making those changes. It may take me a long time to get used to the idea of really restricting my calories, and eating a truly nutritious diet. I think it would entail a lot more grocery shopping, and a lot more cooking, or food preparation in general, not to mention a lot more research and planning about what to eat and how to eat it.
I want to do everything I can to make myself healthier. Calorie restriction might accomplish that goal, but I’m just not quite ready yet to make that change. Besides, in some ways I am restricting my calories now, in an informal way, by eating less and exercising more. That is really about all I can handle for now. When I get ready to go to the grocery store, buy a lot of fresh vegetables, bring them home, and cook them (or eat them raw) then I suppose I will. In the meantime I’m doing what I can do, especially within my comfort zone, and that’s not too bad.
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